ready, set, let go

From David DuChemin . . . let go.

You’ve changed. Your work should change, too. You’re not the person you were a year ago or five years ago. Why should your work be constrained to fit that mold? Be willing to change, to reinvent yourself. Picasso did so all the time. Look at his life’s work and you’ll see it all: the rose period, the blue period, neo-classicism, cubism, surrealism, and more—each one different from the last. We need that kind of freedom. Moving in a new direction is not a denial of what you’ve created before. That work is in the past. It’s complete. The work of Past You doesn’t need Present You or Future You. Not moving forward from Past You can be a denial of who you’ve become.

Sometimes it happens to me, this struggle to move forward. When I say that I don’t sew or make quilts anymore, a friend might say “Aww, but your quilts are so beautiful.” And when I don’t make pretty still life photos with every detail carefully arranged, I wonder if I’ve veered off track. After all, I am good at those photos. I can make them with ease and with confidence. And when I stopped coloring my hair,  a good many people came right out and said I looked older, with comments like, “I miss your pretty brown curls.”

But I am evolving and growing and changing. This letting go is good and necessary for growth.

And if I still wasn’t convinced of the importance of letting go, this video of Stephen Shore taking the viewer on a gallery tour of his photographs would surely do the trick. Listen to how he describes the evolution of his work and how he views making a photograph as a problem to be solved.

David DuChemin says much the same thing in his own way . . .  solve a problem

On a basic level, creativity is just solving problems. Give yourself more interesting problems to solve and your creativity will hone itself. Many of us get stuck in ruts because what was once an interesting problem is now familiar; it’s no longer a challenge. The magic of creativity never happens in your comfort zone. So force a challenge on yourself.

I am forcing a challenge on myself. I’m working my way through the 100 Strangers Project. I’m submitting six photos for a juried exhibition. And for the month of June I’m doing a Jump rope Challenge. I know jumping rope has nothing much to do with photography but discipline and motivation are needed for any challenge.

In the meantime, I’m stretching myself with different photographic subjects, things I wouldn’t have looked twice at that I am now studying with keen interest.